By Emily Drooby
A moment that will go down in history. Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass for an estimated 180,000 people, the first-ever Papal Mass on the Arabian Peninsula.
A majority of the Catholics living in the United Arab Emirates are migrants, especially Filipino and Indian workers, who came to the country because of its rapid economic expansion. The Holy Father’s Homily included a nod to those migrants. He said, “It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future. But the Lord is faithful and does not abandon his people.”
The Pope also saying that if you are with Jesus and you try to live out his word, then you are blessed, calling blessedness a present reality, not a future state, also calling the Beatitudes a roadmap for life.
Pope Francis said, “They do not require superhuman actions, but rather the imitation of Jesus in our everyday life. They invite us to keep our hearts pure, to practice meekness and justice despite everything, to be merciful to all, to live affliction in union with God. This is the holiness of daily life, one that has no need of miracles or of extraordinary signs.”
Keeping in line with the visit’s theme of interreligious dialogue and connection, about 4,000 Muslim people were in attendance.
Earlier in the day, Pope Francis visited St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the first Catholic church to open in Abu Dhabi, taking time to bless parishioners.
Following the historic mass, Pope Francis wrapped up his whirlwind apostolic visit, boarding his plane for Rome.